Welcome to the Styling Stories Series! I'm Kelley, the resident stylist here at Lulu and Georgia. Each month, I'll be sharing insider tips and rules for tricky styling situations like dining sets. Over my ten-year career as an interior designer and prop stylist, I've styled hundreds of room settings and have picked up tons of pro tips along the way. As we're finally ready to entertain again, it’s time to think about getting ready to host and entertain this season. It can be difficult to shop for the right amount of people for your dinner party at home, much less search for the correct dining table and chairs to match. Today, I'm sharing my tips for finding the perfect dining table and chairs for any time of year at the right price.
Hosting and entertaining in a small space or in a room that does dual duty doesn’t have to be difficult. For intimate settings of 2-4 people, consider a round table design with dining chairs. Round tables are great for encouraging conversation and are easy to tuck into a small corner or nook. They give off a more casual feel, as there is no head of the table, and offers a cozy, personal feel for smaller parties. An understated kitchen table and chairs are another good options for small spaces.
Place settings at a small table don’t have to be elaborate-in fact, I suggest forgoing items like placemats or runners and sticking with a small, low centerpiece in order to keep the sightlines clear. Keep chair width in mind as well, as an armless chair with a slimmer profile makes more sense scale-wise than a chunky armchair.
Most average-sized dining rooms will accommodate a medium size table, seating 5-8 people. When deciding on a correctly sized rug to pair with a dining room table and chairs, make sure to select a size that extends 24” or more past the edge of the table. This allows room for chairs to be pulled away from the table without catching on the edge of the rug. If possible, purchase the largest size rug you can, making sure that the edges of the rug extend to about 24” from the walls to ensure proper scale in the room.
The texture is also just as important as scale in a dining room, as the wrong textured rug can be a pain. A high-pile or shag rug is not an ideal choice, as food spills and crumbs can easily be lost in the fibers, not to mention impaired mobility of the chair legs. A flatweave or low pile rug is a much better choice and can serve as a jumping-off point for choosing table linens, artwork, and serveware for the room.
For a grand dining room or open floorplan, a large or extendable table is a great option. These tables can be used the majority of the year at a more standard 6-8 person size and expanded when needed. At any size, make sure to allow at least 3’ of clearance on all sides of the table to allow people to easily pull out their chairs and to make sure there is space to walk behind people who are seated. Make sure to measure for the fully extended size of an expandable table when considering it for your space.
A matching dining table and chair set offer a classic, polished appeal, but consider a more creative approach. A large table can handle more unique chair selections such as mixing and matching chair styles or adding armchairs onto the heads of the table. When mixing and matching chairs, stick to one color palette or material, for instance, all-black chairs in varying styles. This ensures that the visual texture is varied, but not chaotic.